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The New Family, by Victoria Jenkins

The New Family book cover
Brooke meets a man and his son lost on the beach, and offers them her holiday home. But as she returns to her own nearby house, she finds flames licking through her beloved possessions and destroying her artworks which threatens her livelihood. Could Brooke have been deliberately targeted and why?
The New Family is a psychological thriller with danger and secrets lurking beneath the surface.
The book is written in two timelines: Brooke in 2019 and Christina 18 months earlier. Brooke is struggling to cope with her grief after the death of her mother. Christina is risking her perfect family by having an affair. How are the two timelines connected?
Brooke has suspicions about who is responsible for the fire and questions whether she was intended to be inside the burning building. She has a mysterious past and the name Lewis crops up and seems to be haunting her. Meanwhile Oliver and Finley have appeared from nowhere and need somewhere to live. Where have they come from and are they alone? How do these strands connect with Christina and her former lover who won’t let go?
The writing of the book is engaging and I found myself equally immersed in both timelines. The chapters alternate between Brooke and Christina so we get to undertsand their situations and feel a connection with them. Both women are vulnerable and flawed but this makes them feel more authentically human. There were plenty of questions raised as the plot develops and the tension mounts especially as the book races towards a shocking conclusion (suspend disbelief and just enjoy!)
The New Family in an entertaining and intriguing psychological thriller. I have previously reviewed The Accusation and The Argument by Victoria Jenkins.
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MEDIA PACK
Book: The New Family
Author: Victoria Jenkins
Pub Day: Nov 16th 2021
Buy Links: 
Amazon: https://geni.us/B09H7MZ83Ysocial 
Apple: http://ow.ly/AMib50GhJtR 
Kobo: http://ow.ly/MpKn50GhJs6 
Google: http://ow.ly/n4du50GhJCS 
About the Book: 
Can you really trust the family next door?
Brooke is delighted when Oliver decides to rent her old family home with his three-year-old son Finley. Finally someone to bring happiness to the rundown house across the street. They seem like the perfect tenants, but Brooke is a little unnerved when they move in with just a single bag between them. Where are their belongings?
When Brooke asks Oliver about his past, he quickly changes the subject. Her best friend tells her to leave it, after all Brooke has been through enough trauma in her life. But Brooke can’t shake off the feeling that something isn’t right. Why aren’t her new tenants’ names listed anywhere online?
Then Brooke arrives home to find orange flames dancing in the upstairs windows. As her whole life goes up in smoke, she is convinced it wasn’t an accident. And when she finds Finley drawing a picture of an angry burning house with terror in his eyes, her blood runs cold. What is Finley so frightened of? And why does Oliver snatch the drawing away the moment he sees it?
Brooke is convinced Finley is in serious danger, but given her past, she’s not sure anyone will believe her. Is Brooke ready to face up to her own demons to save the little boy? And when the truth is finally revealed, who is really the one in danger?
The New Family is an addictive psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming, perfect for fans of The Wife, The Silent Patient and Lisa Jewell.
author Victoria Jenkins
Author Bio and Social Media 
Victoria Jenkins is an English tutor and former secondary school teacher from South Wales who has been writing for years and day-dreaming about becoming a ‘proper’ writer for the past decade. She have an MA in Creative and Media Writing from the University of Wales, Swansea, where she wrote a lot of poetry while planning a lot of plots she hoped she would once day write. Victoria lives in South Wales with her husband.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoriajenkinswriter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vicwritescrime
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vicwritescrime/


Her Silent Husband, by Sam Vickery

Her Silent Husband book cover

TRIGGER WARNING: this book deals with suicide, drug addiction and child cruelty
Beth is running around after her four children after school when she gets a phone call she will never forget. Her husband is in hospital having attempted to take his own life…
Her Silent Husband is an emotional novel about an uneasy and unpleasant domestic situation.
Beth thought she had the perfect family but the facade crumbles as Drew tries to hang himself. His sister Gemma is an addict. The fourth child they wanted to complete their famiy has Down Syndrome. The pressure has become immense and the couple barely have time for each other any more.
I felt a real mixture of emotions as I read this book. The book is written from Beth and Gemma’s first person perspectives and I found myself in tune with both lead characters equally. Part of me felt angry at Beth for her selfishness and taking Drew for granted. Another part of me was also annoyed for Gemma trying to make amends when she has been a source of worry to her family. Drew also received my anger at his choice to end his life. My sympathies were aroused by the lack of communication and the obvious distress and desperation the characters experience.
However, things are not straightforward. Secrets have been looming in the background which are gradually revealed as events in the book unfold. About a third of the way through, we get an insight into both Beth and Drew’s childhoods which goes a long way to explaining their adult behaviour and significantly increased my sympathy towards these characters.
Her Silent Husband is an emotive novel about the danger of being unappreciative of what we have and taking loved ones for granted. I have previously reviewed One Last Second and My Only Child by Sam Vickery.

 

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Book Description:
I walk slowly to the kitchen counter, staring out the window as Ceci rocks back and forth on the swing. My beautiful darling girl has been through so much already. How can I tell her that her life is about to change forever?
When the woman from the hospital tells me that my husband Drew is in a coma my world comes crashing down.
In an instant, I see our whole married life flashing before my eyes: the way our children ran into his arms when he came home from work, the way his face lit up when he read to them. So how can what they are saying be true? That he might have done this to himself?
As my family rallies around to help, it becomes clear that Drew’s sister Gemma knows a shocking secret that my devoted husband has been keeping from me. If he wakes up, can he still be the man I love? Or will his secret tear our family apart?
A rollercoaster ride of emotions, Her Silent Husband is a story about family, and the light that can be found in even the darkest moments of our lives. Fans of Jodi Picoult, Kelly Rimmer and Diane Chamberlain will be captivated by this unforgettable page-turner.

 

author Sam Vickery

Author Bio:
Sam Vickery is an English author who loves gritty, emotional stories that can make you sob. As a child, she was forever getting in trouble for being caught with her nose in a book, and these days are no different. She lives on the south coast of England with her husband, two children and a cat that thinks it’s a dog.
https://www.facebook.com/SamVickeryWrites/
Buy Link:
Amazon: https://bit.ly/301fmgq


Children’s book review: The Pirates are Coming! by John Condon and Matt Hunt

The Pirates are Coming book cover

The Pirates Are Coming book blurb:
A hilarious re-telling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, with not one but TWO twists!
Tom has a VERY important job; every day he climbs to the top of the hill and watches for pirate ships. But when he rings his bell and shouts “PIRATES!” a few too many times – and there’s NO pirate ship – the villagers begin to get tired of hiding. So what will happen when the pirates really do show up?

The Pirates are Coming back cover

My review:
I LOVE this book. The first time I read this was at school last month to a child I work with. I cried. Actual genuine tears. The ending was so touching and unexpected that it really gripped me emotionally.
But I get ahead of myself! Tom sets himself the job of looking out for pirates and rushes down to the village where everyone hides (see the fab picture below). However, the pirates are not there this time nor the next…
The Pirates are Coming illustrationThe Pirates Are Coming has a lovely and important message about making assumptions and judging a book by its cover. This works in tandem with the ‘boy who cried wolf’ element to the story. There are plenty of opportunities to discuss emotions and how these can be shown through the facial expressions and body language of the illustrations.
I really loved the fun illustrations which bring the delightful plot to life. There is a lovely humour to the text and pictures which makes this a wonderful book for children to share with adults.

 


From The Dark We Rise, by Marion Kummerow

From The Dark We Rise book cover

Germany, 1942 and Annegret Huber arrives at her country home to recover from the grief at the deaths of her parents and brothers. Except Annegret really died in a bombing and her identity was taken by their Jewish servant Margarete…
From The Dark We Rise is the sequel to A Light In The Window which I have reviewed previously. The plot follows on directly from the last book but there is enough information to catch up if you haven’t read it.
There is a huge tension in the book as Margarete struggles to maintain the pretence that she is not a Jew but a wealthy woman with Nazi sympathies. This is heightened when she discovers a munitions factory that she owns is using and mistreating workers from concentration camps. She is determined to save as many people as possible but is she risking too much?
Margarete needs to work relentlessly to keep her true identity secret and hide the truth from those the real Annegret mistreated in the past. This contrasts with a softness towards her maid Dora and concentration camp escapee Lena. However a young Annegret made an enemy of Oliver who works on the estate and he is detemined to get revenge for being treated unkindly in the past and this is threatening to Margarete’s safety.
I like the way that the author conveys the brutality of the Nazi regime with a degree of separation. However, the spectre of death and fear is ever-present for Margarete. This creates a dark tone within the novel yet the light of Margarete’s choice to survive and save others twinkles with hope. Some of the information such as Lena’s experiences are told unflinchingly in contrast with the Nazis’ dismissal of their treatment of the persecuted.
From The Dark We Rise is an often tense but hugely gripping historical novel. I eagerly await the next book in the series. I have previously reviewed Not Without My Sister by Marion Kummerow.
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From The Dark We Rise book description:
“Please, let me help. I won’t tell anyone.” It was madness to help an escaped prisoner in Nazi Germany, but how could she not? If it weren’t for a lucky strike of fate, she might be the woman on the ground shivering with fear. A light of hope entered the prisoner’s eyes and she knew what she had to do…
1942, Germany: When a young woman calling herself Annegret Huber unexpectedly inherits a huge fortune, including a house and factory just outside Berlin, her first thought is to try to see out the war quietly, avoiding the Gestapo and SS as best she can.
No one needs to know her dark secret. She must focus on staying hidden. Because she can’t risk being exposed for who she truly is. Not really Annegret. But a girl living a secret life. A girl who was once called Margarete.
But then an encounter with an escaped prisoner changes everything, as Margarete discovers what is happening at the factory and its attached labor camp. Witnessing first-hand the suffering of prisoners—shivering, with faces gaunt from hunger, as they work in brutal and cruel conditions—she realises she must act.
If she can save just one life, she knows she has to. Because the truth is that Margarete resembles the prisoners in the camp in ways she daren’t admit. And on the other side of the fence, she has seen a face that is achingly familiar…
An absolutely gripping and devastating story, perfect for fans of The Tattooist of AuschwitzAll the Light We Cannot See, and My Name is Eva.
author Marion Kummerow
Author Bio:
Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to “discover the world” and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she’s now living with her family.
Inspired by the true story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime, she started writing historical fiction, set during World War II. Her books are filled with raw emotions, fierce loyalty and resilience. She loves to put her characters through the mangle, making them reach deep within to find the strength to face moral dilemma, take difficult decisions or fight for what is right. And she never forgets to include humor and undying love in her books, because ultimately love is what makes the world go round.
https://kummerow.info/
https://www.facebook.com/AutorinKummerow/
https://www.instagram.com/marionkummerow/
https://twitter.com/MarionKummerow
Buy Links:
Amazon: https://bit.ly/3qxcVNE
Apple: https://apple.co/3BFLwfE
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3zBnMYl
Google: https://bit.ly/3x4FFgG
Audio Links:
UK: zpr.io/yqwQGLPUBS7L
US: zpr.io/YffwSDT3ujfa
Listen to a sample here:
https://soundcloud.com/bookouture/from-the-dark-we-rise-by-marion-kummerow-narrated-by-stephanie-cannon

 

 


Murder at the Abbey, by Frances Evesham

Murder at the Abbey book cover

 

Libby and Max are on a picnic at Cleeve Abbey when human remains are found. They are quickly revealed to be centures old and a ghost hunt ensues. But then one of the ghost hunters is attacked. What is the link between the old bones and the current assault?
Murder at the Abbey is the 8th book in Frances Evesham’s Exham on Sea series of cosy murder mysteries. This is the first book I have read by this author and I hope to catch up on the rest of the series. There are mentions of past events which I assume featured on the previous books.
Libby and Max are both in their fifties. They are a newly married pair of amateur sleuths and private investigators. They are horrified when one of their friends is attacked. I was surprised as I had a hit list of characters I thought might be bumped off! An actual murder doesn’t occur until nearly three quarters of the way through the book although the owner of the ancient bones met a sticky end centuries earlier.
I found myself a little overwhelmed by the number of characters to begin with. However, I soon settled in to the plot and pace. I wonder if this would have been slightly easier if I had read the previous books in the series but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book overall.
There is some forensic detail and violence but the descriptions are minimal due to the cosy mystery genre. The plot focus in upon the investigation and the gathering of clues but events do occur at a reasonable pace. I was kept guessing until the very end and enjoyed trying (and failing!) to put the clues together.
Murder at the Abbey is an enjoyable cosy murder mystery and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Murder at the Abbey blog tour banner

Murder at the Abbey book blurb
The Brand NEW instalment in the bestselling Exham-on-Sea series.
An unsolved murder echoes down the corridors of Cleeve Abbey for years.
The Exham-on-Sea’s History Society’s annual summer picnic comes to an abrupt end when human bones are discovered in Washford River, beside historic Cleeve Abbey.
Thrilled to find evidence of a possible centuries-old murder mystery, the members of the society organise a ghost-hunting night in the ruins of Cleeve Abbey, despite amateur sleuth Libby Forest’s reservations.
Libby is a woman of many talents, a baker, chocolatier, even a reluctant sleuth. However she’s no fan of the supernatural and her doubts are justified when a friend is attacked under cover of darkness at the ghost-hunt.
Distressed and angry, Libby sets out with her new husband Max and their two dogs Bear and Shipley to uncover the connection between the murder of a sixteenth century monk and a present-day attack in picturesque Somerset.
With friends and neighbours as suspects, Libby and Max close in on the culprit only to find that others are still in danger.
There’s no time to lose as the sins of the past threaten lives in the community.
Murder at the Abbey is the eighth in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries from the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3BJyYn1

author Frances Evesham

 

Author Bio –  Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. Boldwood has republished the complete series. Frances has also started a new cosy crime series set in rural Herefordshire, the first of which was published in June 2020.

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Social Media Links –
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer/
Twitter https://twitter.com/francesevesham 
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/francesevesham/
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Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/frances-evesham